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The Reason You're Alive

Cover of The Reason You're Alive

The Reason You're Alive

A Novel
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook offers a timely novel featuring his most fascinating character yet, a Vietnam vet embarking on a quixotic crusade to track down his nemesis from the war.

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard—that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It may be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It may also help him to finally recover from his wife's untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and good-hearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn't always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger's distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese American who respects David's fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America's polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man. The Reason You're Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.

The New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook offers a timely novel featuring his most fascinating character yet, a Vietnam vet embarking on a quixotic crusade to track down his nemesis from the war.

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard—that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It may be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It may also help him to finally recover from his wife's untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and good-hearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn't always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger's distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese American who respects David's fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America's polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man. The Reason You're Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.

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About the Author-
  • Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and The Good Luck of Right Now. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Q lives with his wife, the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 29, 2017
    Meet David Granger, the bigoted 68-year-old Vietnam veteran and narrator of Quick’s (The Silver Linings Playbook) dark, funny, and surprisingly tender new novel. After a brain tumor is removed, Granger allows some unknown government lackey to transcribe his life story: a patriotic, often cynical, sometimes paranoid, but always engaging recitation. He shares the horrors of Vietnam and his encounter with Clayton Fire Bear, the fake name of a Native American to whom he owes an apology. He describes his family relationships: his love for his granddaughter; his semi-estrangement with Hank, his pretentious son; and his tragic marriage to Hank’s mother, Jessica, which began as an effort to save her life after being raped and impregnated and ended years later with her suicide. Granger’s life is rife with instances that either prove or belie his reputation as a xenophobic, racist homophobe. Identifying the “you” in the title proves illuminating; is it Clayton Fire Bear, Hank—who until now was ignorant about his paternity—or Granger himself, who tried and failed to keep Jessica’s demons at bay and too late realized she returned the favor with more subtlety and success?

  • Kirkus

    May 1, 2017
    A veteran tries to come to terms with the traumatic experiences he had a generation earlier in Vietnam.At the core of the novel is the voice of David Granger, a combination of Archie Bunker and Marlow of Conrad's Heart of Darkness. When the novel opens, Granger is 68, and he's still haunted by his experiences in Vietnam. There, he'd witnessed darkness and violence on an unimaginable scale and was complicit in that violence. His postwar life included "some crazy time in a military loony bin in Kansas," and every day he still dresses top to toe in camouflage and carries a sidearm in an ankle holster. His wife now dead, Granger contemptuously patronizes his son, Hank, an art dealer. (His wife, an artist, had named their son Henri Rousseau Granger, but David can't stomach the effete name.) David is casual and defensive about his prejudices, and he both recognizes and denies these prejudices in equal measure. But the narrator is not wholly unsympathetic--he had obviously deeply loved his wife, and he dotes on his 7-year-old granddaughter, Ella. After a terrible car crash that leads to the discovery of a brain tumor David attributes to his long-ago exposure to Agent Orange, he decides to "right a wrong" he committed during the war. He stole a knife from Clayton Fire Bear, a Native American who collected scalps as part of his own traumatic war experience. With the help of a buddy of his from his Vietnam days, Granger goes on a quest to find the elusive Fire Bear. The final reunion with Fire Bear, now a lawyer, is far more surprising than what Granger had expected or imagined. A valuable addition to fiction about the tangled aftereffects of Vietnam on soldiers in the field.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2017
    Medical tests after a BMW crash reveal that die-hard patriot and Vietnam veteran David Granger has a brain tumor he believes was caused by Agent Orange. After surgery, he determines that he must make amends to a Native American soldier he wronged during the war, a move that might help his relationships with his estranged art dealer son and loyal Vietnamese American friend Sue. Acknowledging the American rift and trying to heal it; from the New York Times best-selling author who brought us The Silver Linings Playbook.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution "The author of The Silver Linings Playbook delivers another engaging and screen-ready dramedy about an irascible misfit on a mission for closure."
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch "The role of David Granger may someday be played by an Oscar-hungry actor. But that shouldn't distract from the vivid, high-definition protagonist that already glows from the page.... That candor and honesty gives this first-person narrative its potency. It also supplies the humor."
  • Publishers Weekly "Dark, funny, and surprisingly tender."
  • New York Journal of Books "A book of unexpected turns, a fun and funny narrative intermixed with many dark plot lines, The Reason You're Alive is a poignant work and a must-read this summer."
  • National Book Review "This new novel from the author of Silver Linings Playbook spotlights an unlikely hero, and a father-son relationship, with wry warmth and humor."
  • Minneapolis StarTribune "Poignant and uproarious.... A novel that thrums with energy.... A vibrant and compassionate tale of a complex man finding his way in a divided America."
  • Asheville Citizen-Times "Touching and often laugh-out-loud funny."
  • Writer’s Bone "Quick has an amazing ability to build characters who are big-hearted and hopeful even in the face of great tragedy, heartbreak, and trauma. In this case, once you get beneath the camo and insults, you begin to really see Granger."
  • RT Book Reviews "David's voice is completely distinctive and compelling — one that captures your attention from the first paragraph. David's story will leave readers laughing one minute and crying the next. Another hit from Quick!"
  • Boston Globe, on Love May Fail "Inspiring... Matthew Quick has a way with wounded characters."
  • People, Three Stars, on Good Luck of Right Now "A gratifying romp....Fans of The Silver Linings Playbook know Quick's penchant for emotionally troubled, big-hearted characters, and Good Luck will satisfy those readers and new ones alike."
  • USA Today, Four Stars, on Good Luck of Right Now "It's impossible not to love each of these deeply flawed characters....As funny as it is touching, Quick's latest effort is on par with Silver Linings."
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    HarperCollins
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The Reason You're Alive
A Novel
Matthew Quick
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